Iraqi army, militias launch operation to retake Anbar First batch of US F-16 jets lands

Iraqi army, militias launch   operation to retake Anbar First batch of US F-16 jets lands
Iraqi militia forces fire a rocket towards Daesh positions on the outskirts of Fallujah.

Bombings, two suicide attacks leave 21 dead in Baghdad

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By Reuters, AFP

Published: Mon 13 Jul 2015, 2:17 PM

Last updated: Mon 13 Jul 2015, 9:42 PM

Baghdad - Iraqi troops backed by mainly Shia militias launched military operations on Monday to recapture the country's largest province Anbar from Daesh militants, a military statement broadcast on state television said.
The announcement of the offensive comes two months after Daesh militants seized Anbar's capital Ramadi, extending their control over the the province west of Baghdad.
"At 5 o'clock this morning operations to liberate Anbar were launched," said a joint military command statement read out on state television.
It said the offensive was being carried out by the army, mainly Shia militia known as Hashid Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) units, special forces, police and local Sunni tribal fighters.
The statement gave no other details, but military officers and Hashid Shaabi commanders have said the initial target will be the city of Fallujah, about 50km west of Baghdad.
Hadi Al Ameri, commander of the largest Shia force, the Badr Organisation, told Iraqi television on Sunday he expected the main assault on Fallujah to take place after the Eid holiday at the end of Ramadan, later this week.
Residents in Fallujah and Ramadi reported heavy bombardment of both cities early on Monday. Security sources said Daesh insurgents also fired rockets and launched several vehicle bombs against army positions.
Meanwhile, a string of bomb explosions, including two suicide attacks, killed at least 21 people and wounded 62 in Shia-dominated neighbourhoods of Baghdad on Sunday, Iraqi police and medical sources said.
The northeastern area of Al Shaab was rocked by two explosions, at least one of which was caused by an attacker who detonated his suicide vest, a police colonel and an interior ministry official said.
At least three of the 11 people killed in those blasts were members of the security forces, police said. The double explosion, which occurred near a market, left at least 23 people wounded. A suicide attacker also blew up his car bomb on Adan square, in northwestern Baghdad, just before the Iftar meal. At least six people were killed and 20 wounded in the attack on the square, which was already targeted in February and has been frequently hit over the years.
In Al Bunuk area, a car bomb also went off near a popular restaurant, killing at least two people and leaving 11 wounded, the same sources said. Two other people were killed and eight wounded when another explosives-laden vehicle blew up in the Iskan neighbourhood.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for any of the explosions, but most such attacks are carried out by the Daesh.
There had been fears that Daesh would intensify attacks in Baghdad during Ramadan, but with the fasting month nearing its end, there had been no surge in bombings until Sunday. - Reuters, AFP

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